Latin Legal Terms and its Meaning in English

 

Latin Word or Phrase English Meaning
Ab initio

 

From the very beginning, from the start of something

 

Ab extra

 

From outside

 

Ad idem

 

In agreement, meeting of the minds by parties

 

Ad infinitum

 

To continue forever, without limit

 

Ad nauseum

 

Disgusting or ridiculous to the extent of causing nausea (vomiting)

 

Ad valorem

 

Proportionate to the value

 

Alibi

 

At another place, Elsewhere
The fact or state of having been elsewhere at the time

 

Ambiguitas latens Latent ambiguity not appearing on instant inspection

 

Ambiguitas patens An ambiguity that readily appears on the face of document or instrument

 

Amicus curiae

 

A person or organisation that is not a party to the litigation but is permitted by law to advise it (court), friend of the court

 

Animus possidendi

 

An intention to possess

 

Audi alteram partem

 

Let the other side be heard as well

 

Bona fide

 

Real, genuine, sincere, made or carried out in good faith

 

Mala fide

 

Dishonest, made or carried out in bad faith

 

Caveat emptor

 

Let the buyer beware. The principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made
De facto Of fact, in reality

 

De jure

 

Of law, officially

 

De novo

 

Afresh, from the beginning

 

Ejusdem generis Of the same kind or nature

 

Ex gratia

 

A favour or gift that is not legally necessary

 

Ex parte

 

Without the presence or participation of opposite party

 

Ex post facto

 

Retroactive, affecting something that has already happened

 

Fait Accompli

 

Accomplished and cannot be changed now

 

Fiat justitia

 

Let the justice be done though the heavens fall

 

Inter alia

 

Amongst other things

 

In limine

 

At the outset, on the threshold Such order excludes the challenged
evidence and directs the parties not to refer to the excluded matters during trial

 

Jus ad rem

 

A right to a thing

 

Jus in personam

 

Right against a person

 

Letter rogatory

 

Formal request from a court to foreign court for some type of judicial assistance

 

Locus standi

 

Right to bring an action, to be heard in court, sufficient connection and harm form the law or action

 

Modus operandi

 

Method of operation, particular way of doing something

 

Mutatis mutandis

 

Having changed what needs to be changed;
once the necessary changes have been made

 

Nudum pactum

 

Naked promise, bare promise

 

Obiter That which is said in passing;
Such statements lack the force of precedent but nevertheless be significant

 

Onus probandi

 

Burden of proof, proof of assertion. It includes both the burden of production and persuasion.

 

Parens patriae

 

Parent of the nation, legal protector of citizens unable to protect themselves

 

Pari passu

 

Side by side, at the same rate, equally, on equal footing

 

Per incuriam

 

Through lack of care

 

Prima facie

 

At first sight, based on first impression

 

Pro bono publico Professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment

 

 

Latin Word or Phrase English Meaning
Quid pro quo

 

A favour or advantage granted in return for something

 

Ratio dicidendi

 

The rule of law on which a judicial decision is based

 

Raison d'etre

 

Reason for being, reason for something's existence

 

Res integra

 

A point without a precedent, entire thing, untouched matter

 

Res nullius

 

Nobody's thing, belonging to no one

 

Sine qua non

 

An essential condition, a thing that is absolute necessary

 

Intra vires

 

Within one's legal power or authority

 

Ultra vires

 

Acting or done beyond one's legal power or authority

 

Actus reus

 

A guilty act, an act which is illegal such as theft

 

Ad hoc

 

For a particular purpose

 

Sine die

 

No fixed date to continue

 

Alias

 

A false name

 

Ante

 

Before

 

Caveat

 

A warning

 

ertiorari

 

An order by the High Court that the case should be reviewed

 

Habeas Corpus

 

A writ which can be applied for to order a person's release, if he/she has been imprisoned unlawfully. Produce the body (in court)

 

Estoppel

 

A rule of law that a person cannot deny something he/she/it previously said, if someone else acted on what was said and
their position was changed, possibly for the worse, as a result

 

Fiduciary

 

In a position of trust

 

Mens rea

 

The intention to commit a crime and also the knowledge that an act is wrong

 

Per

 

Through, by

 

Per pro

 

On behalf of

 

Per quod

 

In accordance, whereby

 

Per se

 

In itself, by itself

 

Pro rata

 

In proportion

 

Res ipsa loquitur

 

Proof is not needed because the facts speak for themselves

 

Sub judice

 

Something being dealt with by a court which cannot be discussed outside the court

 

Sui generis

 

Something that belongs in a particular category or is the only one of its class

 

Sui juris

 

Someone who can enter into a contract without any restriction

 

Supra

 

Above

 

Infra

 

Below, inside

 

Terra

 

Land

 

Uberrimae fidei

 

Of the utmost good faith

 

Writ

 

an order issued by a court telling someone to do something or not to do something

 

A fortiori

 

From stronger argument

 

Ad litem

 

As regards the action

 

Ad referendum

 

Subject to reference

 

Erratum

 

An error in printing or writing

 

Ex officio

 

By virtue of holding an office

 

Ibid

 

In the same place

 

Ignorantia juris non
excusat
Ignorance of law is not an excuse
In camera

 

In chamber, in private

 

In curia

 

In open court

 

In re

 

In the matter of

 

Ipso facto

 

By that very fact or act

 

Quasi

 

As if, almost

 

Res judicata A matter that has been decided. Judicial pronouncements

 

 

Latin Word or Phrase English Meaning
Sic

 

So, thus
(Used in brackets after a copied or quoted word that appears odd or erroneous to show that the word is quoted exactly as it stands in the original)

 

Mandamus

 

We command, Writ is a command issued to public official, bodies

 

Quo warranto

 

By that warrant, Stops usurpation of public office by anyone

 

Prohibition

 

Writ by Supreme Court and High Court to lower courts which exceeds to their jurisdiction or acting the rule of natural justice

 

Suo moto
Suo motu

 

On its own motion

 

Ad interim

 

In the meantime, temporarily

 

Et al, Et alii, Et alia

 

And others

 

Et cetera

 

And other things

 

Exempli gratia (e.g.)

 

For the sake of example

 

In absentia

 

In absence

 

In toto

 

In total, totally

 

Inter se

 

Among themselves

 

Nota bene (NB)

 

Note well

 

Per capita

 

By head, per head

 

Vice versa

 

The other way around

 

Vide

 

See

 

Videlicet (viz.)

 

Namely

 

Veto

 

I forbid

 

Sub modo

 

Subject to modification

 

Status quo
Status quo ante

 

The state of affairs that existed previously

 

Vox populi

 

The opinions or beliefs of the majority, Voice of the people

 

Ad infinitum

 

To infinity, to continue forever

 

Ex facie

 

On the face

 

Per contra

 

In contrast to, by that against

 

Pro per
Pro se

 

For himself

 

Pro tem
Pro tempore

 

Temporary

 

Id est (i.e.)

 

That is, in other words

 

Apropos

 

Regarding, concerning (used as apropos of)

 

Jus naturale

 

Natural justice

 

Magnum opus

 

A great work of literature

 

Nemo dat quod non
habet
No one can give a better title than he has
Sciens

 

Knowingly

 

Sui generis

 

Unique

 

Vervatim

 

Word by word, exactly

 

Legum Baccalaureus
Juris Doctor

 

Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

 

Philosophiae Doctor

 

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Ante meridiem (AM)

 

Before midday
Post meridiwm (PM)

 

Past midday, after midday
Diem

 

Day

 

Mensem

 

Month

 

Annum

 

Year

 

Audio

 

I hear

 

Dictum factum

 

What is said is done

 

Fac simile
Facsimile
Make alike (Fax)

 

In memoriam

 

In memory of

 

Versus

 

Against

 

Viva Voce

 

With living voice, by word of mouth

 

Curriculum vitae

 

Course of one's life

 

Bonus Good, extra sum

 

Ergo Therefore

 

Pro forma As a matter of form

 

Ad rem To the point

 

 

 

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